Property Tax Reform On Front Burner in 2013

What might well be a perfect storm is forming for property tax relef. Staff photo by Kevin Sweeney Minnesota Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans uses a pair of three-legged stools, with legs representing income, sales and property tax, to show how the balance among the three has changed over the years. Frans spoke at the Kaiserhoff on Tuesday to the New Ulm Rotary Club.

For two years a bipartisan committee, the Property Tax Working Group, made up of private citizens, local government leaders, and legislators from both parties has been working to access "the most complicated property tax system in the nation."  A report with reccommendations is due out in January.

Local governments across Minnesota have been meeting in a Redesign Caucus to discuss ways to improve effciency in delivering services and partnering to reduce costs.  This recent Duluth News Tribune article highlights Saint Louis County's proposed levy reduction, mirroring reports from other counties in the state. The Federal Reserve's low interest rates have provided additional savings. 

At The Center for the Study of Politics and Governance (CSPG), University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs luncheon recently, Gov. Mark Dayton talked specifically about the need for property tax reform. Gov. Dayton plans to release his plan after the November elections in an attempt to keep his proposals out of heated political debate.

While income and sales taxes have been largely flat for over a decade, property taxes have ballooned.  Gov. Dayton  wants to rein in property taxes -- the state's the state's largest, "most regressive tax," shifting more burden to sales and income taxes. He also said he is open to closing some tax loopholes in exchange for lowering the state's high top corporate tax rate.

House Tax Committee Chair Greg Davids (R) has also been talking property tax relief, including a phase out of the State Business Property Tax, a tax which includes cabins, the revenue of which goes back to the state instead of local governments.

Tax reform, particularly property tax, is front and center for both parties, both the legislative and executive branches, and local governments.  

Reform is comming, and it is time for citizens to weigh in.  Now, before the election and while final proposals are being drafted, we have a unique opportunity to make our voices heard.

Contact the Governor's Office




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